Martha Reeves, Four Tops’ Duke Fakir Mourn Death of Lamont Dozier – Billboard


Subsequent to the Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and the 4 Tops have been the first recipients of Holland-Dozier-Holland’s hitmaking prowess at Motown.

So it’s no shock that the principals of these teams had solely heat reminiscences about Lamont Dozier as information unfold on Tuesday (Aug. 9) of his loss of life on the age of 81.

“Such an incredible man,” Abdul “Duke” Fakir, the only surviving founding member of the 4 Tops, advised Billboard about Dozier, who was additionally a detailed private pal and operating buddy. “He was so gifted. He might sing very well. He was a great author, a great producer, actually an integral a part of Holland-Dozier-Holland.”


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Martha Reeves, in the meantime, remembered that Dozier “had the best humorousness. He made you chortle and make you snug greater than Eddie and Brian (Holland). They appeared a bit extra critical than Lamont. Lamont had a humorousness that made you’re feeling lighter once you have been singing their songs. Their songs all had fantastic hooks and exquisite phrases however weren’t straightforward to sing. However Lamont made it simpler to try this.”

Holland-Dozier-Holland united in the course of the early ’60s at Motown. Each Eddie Holland and Dozier have been working as recording artists, whereas Brian Holland was a workers songwriter who’d topped the charts with “Please Mr. Postman” for the Marvelettes in 1961. Dozier earned 14 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Scorching 100 and greater than 30 high 10 hits.

“Every of them might do every little thing; you possibly can’t actually say one man did this, one man did that,” famous longtime Motown govt Shelly Berger, who’s nonetheless managing the Temptations and in addition remembers Dozier as “mainly a quiet man.” “The melodies of their songs made them so engaging to basic markets. They only jumped on the charts instantly.”

That was actually the case for the 4 Tops, who have been transitioning from singing requirements when Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. hooked the group up with H-D-H in 1964. The connection started with “Child I Want Your Loving” and continued via to the 1983 album Again The place I Belong, which introduced the Tops again to Motown after an 11-year absence.

“After that first assembly Lamont and I went right down to the 20 Grand (membership) and frolicked and we simply grew to become actually good pals,” Fakir remembers. “We simply frolicked and have been buddies.” He considers Dozier to be “the glue” of H-D-H, filling in between Eddie Holland, the first lyricist, and Brian Holland, the “trackmaster” behind the boards.

Dozier, in the meantime, “simply had stunning issues in his head for music,” Fakir explains. “He was excellent on the sweetening, including strings and issues like that. He might typically assist with the melody or assist Brian with the tracks. Something that was lacking within the manufacturing, he was there to fill it in. He might do every little thing. I don’t know easy methods to put it besides he was only a plus.”

H-D-H’s different main hits with the Tops included “Attain Out I’ll Be There,” “Standing within the Shadows of Love” and “Bernadette.” However it was the follow-up to 1965-‘s chart-topping “I Can’t Assist Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” that stood out for Fakir. “Berry was mad at all people as a result of ‘I Can’t Assist Myself’ was on the chart they usually hadn’t something to comply with it up,” Fakir remembers. “He stated, ‘Goddamnit, write me one thing! The Tops are falling out of the charts!’ I used to be over Lamont’s home that night time and he was enjoying the piano and begins tinker with ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch,’ turning the chords round. That’s when he began laughing and stated, ‘This seems like the identical outdated track.’ He stored going and that’s how ‘It’s the Identical Outdated Track’ took place.”

Dozier’s abilities prolonged past the recording studio, too, Fakir says. “He might’ve been a chef. He might prepare dinner his butt off. He had me come over for dinner one time and he had all these dishes. It was simply an odd meal, but it surely was like Thanksgiving, and every little thing was glorious. He was simply actually good at every little thing he did.”

Reeves, in the meantime, is especially proud that the Vandellas’ “Come and Get These Reminiscences” was H-D-H’s first main charting hit as a songwriting and manufacturing crew. The group would go on to work with the trio on high 10 singles resembling “Heatwave,” “Nowhere to Run,” “I’m Prepared for Love” and “Jimmy Mack.”

“I believe all of the artists at Motown felt like they have been writing songs only for us, and we knew they have been going to be hits,” Reeves says. “They actually labored as a crew, and never one in every of them stood out. Generally (Dozier) would play the piano, typically he would (produce) the background elements, typically he would assist with the blending. They have been all a part of the crew.”

Dozier handed away in California whereas Fakir, Reeves, Berger and different Motown alumni have been assembled on the Motown Museum on Monday night time, celebrating the completion of the primary two phases of the ability’s $55 million enlargement. In the course of the ceremony Smokey Robinson spoke in regards to the Motown household and famous that “80 % of us are gone…However after I look right here and I see my household, many occasions once we used to speak in regards to the Motown household folks thought we have been speaking about one thing legendary; ‘Oh, it couldn’t presumably be like that,’ however we have been — and we nonetheless are. These of us who’re nonetheless listed below are nonetheless the Motown household…and we nonetheless love one another.”

Speaking about Dozier on Tuesday, Reeves says Robinson’s phrases have been holding true. “I’m getting calls each second…to cheer me up or let me know they’re praying for me,” she says, “as a result of the Motown household is the tightest household. It all the time has been. We’re going to remain robust and hold saying good issues about these individuals who have touched our hearts, like (Dozier).”

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